Remembering Sister Agnes (Marie Josepha) Anzoli, 1916 – 2015


Agnes first met the Sisters at age 12, when she went to boarding school after her father’s death so that her mother could go to work.  Agnes found a second family with the Sisters who loved and cared for her.  After graduating from Moreland Notre Dame Academy in Watsonville, Agnes entered the Novitiate.

Sister's first teaching assignment was with the third grade at St. Columbkille School, Los Angeles, in 1938. A few years later, she was sent to San Francisco, first to Notre Dame, the girls' school, then to Mission Dolores to the first grade boys. "They were like a basket of puppies," she remembered.

Sister first became principal at Sacred Heart Parish, Saratoga, where she opened the parish school and taught 4th grade – they had begun with just four grades as was common in those days. Not long after, she opened St. John's-Notre Dame Elementary in Folsom before returning to St. Columbkille's as principal. In August 1965, the Watts riots erupted, engulfing the neighborhood in racial violence. When school opened the next month, Sister Agnes and her teachers provided a safe, stable learning environment for children who had witnessed the violence.

Sister Agnes' last assignment was to St. Joseph's Elementary in Alameda. She had taught there many years before, but returned as resource center coordinator, librarian and assistant teacher. She stayed for 20 years until she retired in 1997. "No matter where I was teaching," she says looking back, "I loved the children. I treasured the warmth of those who wanted to receive, especially parents whom I could validate in their efforts to raise their children."

Sister Agnes (Marie Josepha) Anzoli always kept a slip of paper, no more than 6 inches by 2, with the school, grade and dates for each school where she taught, for nearly 60 years. "These are more than my memories," she says, "These are my life. I just loved the children."

Sister died peacefully at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland, CA, on February 24, 2015.

Sister Agnes' Ministries

1938-41 St. Columbkille School, Los Angeles, CA
1941-49 Mission Dolores School, San Francisco, CA
1949-53 St. Joseph Elementary School, Alameda, CA
1953-55 Notre Dame Elementary School, Belmont CA
1955-57 St. Lucy Elementary School, Campbell, CA
1957-59 Sacred Heart Elementary School, Saratoga, CA (Principal)
1959-62 St. Charles School, San Carlos  CA(Principal)
1962-63 Folsom (Superior and Principal)
1963-69 St. Columbkille School, Los Angeles, CA (Superior and Principal)
1969-72 Sacred Heart Elementary School, Saratoga, CA (Superior and Principal)
1972-73 Dolores School, Santa Barbara, CA
1973-75 Sacred Heart Elementary School, Salinas, CA
1975-76 Registrar's Office, College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA
1976-80 Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Belmont, CA
1980-97 St. Joseph Elementary School, Alameda, CA (Various roles)
1997-99 Sisters' Archives Sup;ort, Belmont, CA
1999 St. Cyprian School, Sunnyvale, CA

Click here to give a gift in her memory.

Please do share your memories of Sr. Agnes Anzoli with us.


  1. I have extremely fond memories of Sr. Agnes when she was Sr. Marie Josepha and I was a first grader in her class at St. Joseph's school in Alameda. We ran into each other later, too, when I taught fifth grade at Sacred Heart in Saratoga, and she was principal of the school and superior of our house. I love the memorable smile that you have captured so well in the photos you have posted. I hope her later years provided her with many opportunities to smile.

  2. Sr. Agnes and I shared an office in the Registrar's Office of CND about 1975. Neither one of us knew what to do in that Office. I had gotten a Master's Degree in Geography the year before and was then named Registrar of CND. My biggest duty was to attend CND Meetings. I felt like a fifth wheel and cried alot. Agnes was a great comfort. I'm very grateful for the year we shared our cross together.

  3. Sister Marie Josepha you were my teacher in second or third grade, that was about 1951. Wow, Agnes, you had a long and happy life. I know you are putting in a good word for me and your other students.

  4. Sister Delphine was a wonderful woman. I knew her toward the end of her life while she was living in Belmont. I am distant relative and loved seeing Sister Delphine hold my young daughter in her arms. She displayed the love toward my daughter that I am sure she showed to many during years of unselfish service.

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